National Employment Standards

National employment standards
Australia's National Employment Standards (NES) underpin wages, awards and entitlements for all workers. Ensure that your business complies with workplace relations law with our professional, independent advice.

The NES describe 10 conditions of employment that all employees in Australia must receive alongside the minimum wage. It is important to note that even where an employee is covered by an award, award-free or covered by an enterprise agreement, the NES still applies.

Summary of the NES

Maximum weekly hours

The maximum ordinary working hours in Australia is 38 hours. Employees who work more than this maximum will often need to be compensated through overtime penalties.

Requests for flexible working arrangements

The NES provides a list of criteria that permits an employee to request flexibility in their employment e.g. where the employee has a disability. 

Parental leave

When an employee has served 12 months continuous service with the employer, they are eligible for 12 months unpaid parental leave.

Annual leave

Full time employees will receive four weeks annual leave, which accrues progressively. For part-time employees their leave is pro-rata. Unused entitlements will roll-over year to year.

Personal/carer’s and compassionate leave

Full time employees in Australia receive 10 days per year, which accrues progressively. For part-time employees their leave is pro-rata. Likewise, unused entitlements will roll-over year to year.

Community service leave

An entitlement to be absent from work if engaged in an ‘eligible community service activity’ e.g. the CFA. Jury service is covered in this entitlement and can be a form of paid leave.

Long service leave

Look to the relevant state laws, award or EA for entitlements.

Public holidays

Eligible employees in Australia have the entitlement to be absent from the workplace on a public holiday without loss of pay.

Notice of termination and redundancy pay

If a position is made redundant, an employee may be entitled to redundancy pay where employed by a large business. Written notice the employment relationship has ended needs to be provided by the employer, and often the employee when resigning.

Fair Work information statement

A Fair Work Information Statement is a formal document, issued by a government agency, which summarises the employee’s basic entitlements and needs to be provided to the employee upon commencement of employment.

Contact us

Our Workplace Relations consultants can advise employers how to apply the NES, especially in conjunction with other agreements including EAs and employment contracts. Call our Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222 for support.

Let the Victorian Chamber help you understand different wages, awards and workplace relations. Members have exclusive access to a library full of free templates and fact sheets.